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NAU Covid Watch Arizona FAQ

About Covid Watch Arizona

Get your questions answered on what it is, how it works, and where to find the app.


What, how, why, and who

What is Covid Watch Arizona?

Covid Watch Arizona is a free mobile application for iOS and Android devices that provides secure, anonymous COVID-19 exposure notifications between app users. The app is also one of the many safety measures and precautions NAU has in place to help prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

How does Covid Watch Arizona work?

When mobile devices that have Covid Watch Arizona installed are near each other, the app uses private and randomized Bluetooth signals to determine how long and how close app users were together. The Bluetooth signals’ distance and duration are then used to determine an individual’s potential exposure level.

Why should I download Covid Watch Arizona?

Because Covid Watch Arizona does not use or store any personally identifiable information or track your location, it can only detect potential COVID-19 exposures by recognizing random, anonymous Bluetooth signals from other app users. Therefore, the more people who download Covid Watch Arizona, the more effective the app becomes.

Who can download Covid Watch Arizona?

We highly recommend everyone who lives, works or spends time on or near campus downloads the app, which includes Northern Arizona University students, staff and faculty. However, anyone in the greater Flagstaff area can also download Covid Watch Arizona to help keep our entire community safe from COVID-19.

How do I download Covid Watch Arizona?

First, make sure your device is up to date and compatible. Because the technology behind Covid Watch Arizona is new, only the following devices support the app at this time:

  • iPhone: Model 6S and newer with iOS version 13.6 or above installed
  • Android: Any smartphone that supports Bluetooth Low Energy and has Android Version 6 (API 23) or above installed

If your phone meets the technology requirements above, Android users can get the app on Google Play by searching for “CovidWatch”. iPhone users can find the app on the App Store under “Covid Watch Arizona.”

Is Covid Watch Arizona the same as contact tracing?

No, although both are helpful in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community through asymptomatic cases. Covid Watch Arizona is an anonymous exposure notification app that lets you know if you have had potential exposure to COVID-19. It does not track your location or your contacts. Contact tracing is a public health process that involves identifying people who have COVID-19 and reaching out to people with whom they know they’ve come into close contact.

Exposure notifications

What are exposure notifications?

An exposure notification is an in-app alert that lets you know of any potential exposure you may have had to COVID-19. Notifications may range from “no significant exposures detected” to “significant exposures detected.” Each exposure notification will also include next steps an app user should take.

How do anonymous exposure notifications work?

First, a Covid Watch Arizona app user chooses to anonymously share their positive COVID-19 test result by entering a verification code in the app. Then, Covid Watch Arizona will automatically and privately notify other app users that have been close enough, for long enough, to possibly be exposed. No personally identifiable information is distributed to other phones or app users.

How do exposure notifications help?

Exposure notifications can help alert app users of potential exposure, even before they may experience symptoms, so they can quickly take action to protect others around them from COVID-19.

Can anyone send an exposure alert?

Covid Watch Arizona will only send an anonymous exposure alert if a user shares a verified positive COVID-19 test result and a random test verification code, which will be provided by Campus Health Services or when you get a positive result from the saliva testing. That code must be entered into the app before an exposure notification is sent.

How will the app notify me of a possible exposure?

Notifications will look similar to any other app notification you receive, like when you get a text message or someone tags you on a social platform. No one else will know if you have been notified. Additionally, you will only get a notification when someone you were in close contact with receives a verification code after they test positive for COVID-19 and chooses to share their diagnosis anonymously through the app.

What do I do if I get an exposure notification?

Your exposure notification and what to do will depend on your potential exposure level. Next steps range may include being asked to self-isolate and monitor your health or asking you to contact Campus Health for a COVID-19 test or the Coconino County contact tracing team.

Does the app work if I leave Flagstaff?

It will work throughout the state, but Covid Watch Arizona was not designed for use outside of Arizona.

I tested positive, but I don't have a verification code. What do I do?

If you received your positive test result from Campus Health Services or at the University Union Fieldhouse testing, your verified code may have been provided to you verbally by your doctor or nurse when you received your positive test result. Your code may also have been included on your test paperwork. If you are unable to locate your code or you received a positive test result from someplace other than at CHS or the Fieldhouse, please contact Campus Health Services for more information and next steps.

Privacy and security

How can Covid Watch Arizona keep me anonymous if it can tell how long I spend with someone?

Covid Watch Arizona does not use or store any personally identifiable information, and it does not track your location. Instead, the Covid Watch Arizona app sends out secure Bluetooth signals that carry random, anonymous numbers. When another Covid Watch Arizona app user is nearby, their phones note each others’ anonymous signals, and their distance and duration, in the app.

What are you doing to protect my data?

Covid Watch Arizona does not use information that can be traced to an individual. In fact, Covid Watch Arizona uses technology that sets the standard for digital rights and privacy protection in COVID-19 exposure notification apps.

What happens if I don't report my positive COVID-19 test result in the app?

Nothing, although we encourage all of the NAU community to download the app and report positive test results if received. Covid Watch Arizona is more effective the more people download and install it and choose to anonymously notify others. Because there is no identifiable information, your identity is never revealed. The only thing you or others see is the date and duration of possible exposure, which is based on anonymous Bluetooth signals between phones that have the Covid Watch Arizona app installed.

Why do I have to choose NAU as my region if Covid Watch Arizona doesn't use location information?

Selecting NAU as your region will make sure you receive the right information on next steps to take on campus if you get an exposure alert. That information includes who to contact at Campus Health Services, where to go for more information, and where you can get a COVID-19 test that will provide the random verification code needed to share a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in the app.

What happens to the data if I delete the app?

Covid Watch Arizona does not collect any personally identifiable data. If you delete Covid Watch Arizona, the app is no longer available on your phone and you will no longer be able to receive exposure notifications.

App tech support

I'm having technical issues with the app. Who do I contact?

If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please visit Covid Watch’s official FAQs to find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the app. You can also access the FAQs within the Covid Watch Arizona app, by clicking on “Get Support.”

If you don’t see the answer you need, you can also click the “Support” button at the bottom of the Covid Watch support page to open a chat box. If you’re still having trouble with the app, submit a request and someone from Covid Watch will respond to your issue.

Don’t see your question below? Contact us, and we’ll add it to the FAQ.

What devices support Covid Watch Arizona?

Covid Watch Arizona can be downloaded and installed on the following devices:

  • iPhone: Model 6S and newer with iOS version 13.6 or above installed
  • Android: Any smartphone that supports Bluetooth Low Energy and has Android Version 6 (API 23) or above installed

Why do only newer devices support the app?

Covid Watch Arizona uses the newly developed Exposure Notification API that was developed by Apple and Google. Only newer phones have the proper technology incorporated to support the app.